See You In The Hague

How ridiculous is this?

Six hundred million gamers could be war criminals, Red Cross says

THE Red Cross is investigating whether 600 million gamers are violating the Hague and Geneva conventions when they kill and blow stuff up for fun.

Delegates at the 31st International Conference of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Red Crescent raised the concerns over the potential “International Humanitarian Law” violations – which can constitute war crimes – during a workshop in Geneva.

“Exactly how video games influence individuals is a hotly debated topic, but for the first time, Movement partners discussed our role and responsibility to take action against violations of IHL in video games,” the Red Cross wrote in its daily bulletin.

See also:
Could Playing Videogames Be a War Crime?
Red Cross: 600m videogamers may be war criminals
War Crimes in Video Games Draw Red Cross Scrutiny
Are You a Video Game War Criminal?
Red Cross Investigating Virtual War Crimes
Red Cross Would Like Rules of War Applied to Video Games [Updated]
Red Cross: Violent video games violate international law
The Red Cross and Six Hundred Million Hague Convention Violations
Should the Geneva Conventions Be Applied to Video Games?
Should video games respect international war crimes law?
Red Cross vows not to prosecute video gamers for war crimes
Gamers are safe from war crimes prosecution
Red Cross: Gamers safe from war crimes prosecution

Whew, well, it’s good to know that the ICRC isn’t going to prosecute video gamers, so we dodged a bullet there. However, it’s incredibly troubling and well beyond insane that they’re even thinking about it. If you’re thinking about donating to the Red Cross this holiday season remember, there’s a huge difference between the American Red Cross and the International Red Cross.

/the former does good and important relief work, while the latter is just plain bat[expletive deleted] crazy

Warp Speed?

Was Einstein wrong, can neutrinos blow through the speed of light stop sign?

Speedy Particles Put Einstein to the Test

An experiment purporting to show that subatomic particles can travel faster than light has scientists’ heads spinning. If confirmed, it would undermine key pillars of modern physics.

At a presentation in Switzerland, scientists said Friday they had recorded ghostlike particles, known as neutrinos, a tiny bit faster than light—an apparent breach of the cosmic speed limit set down by Albert Einstein more than a century ago.

. . .

Neutrinos are particles with almost no mass and no charge, and they can pass through ordinary matter unaffected. At any given moment, billions harmlessly stream through a person’s body.

In the experiment known as the Oscillation Project with Emulsion-Tracking Apparatus, neutrinos were measured as traveling slightly faster than light on a 450-mile trip from CERN near Geneva to the Gran Sasso underground lab in central Italy. The particles moved at a velocity just above the speed of light. That result was based on more than 15,000 neutrino events measured at the Italian lab, CERN said.

See also:
Measurement of the neutrino velocity with the OPERA detector in the CNGS beam
Neutrinos may have traveled faster than the speed of light
UPDATE 1-Particles found to break speed of light
Particles recorded moving faster than light – CERN
Scientists Question Faster-Than-Light Neutrinos
Light speed: Flying into fantasy
Those faster-than-light neutrinos. Four things to think about
Particles faster than light: Revolution or mistake?
CERN neutrinos don’t “disprove” Einstein
Details emerge about European scientists’ discovery
Physicists explain how neutrino beat Einstein
Challenging Einstein Is Usually A Losing Venture
Physicists wary of junking light speed limit yet
Faster Than Light Neutrinos? Don’t Bet On It
CERN – the European Organization for Nuclear Research
CERN
Welcome to LNGS – Gran Sasso National Laboratory
Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso
Oscillation Project with Emulsion-tRacking Apparatus (OPERA)
OPERA experiment

Are these results science fact or science fiction? Beats me. If it is true, it’s going to turn physics as we know it on its head.

/stay tuned, this is sure to be a hot topic of scientific debate for quite some time

Roundup At The Antimatter Corral

You know, I’m all for the advancement of physics research, but there’s a reason antimatter doesn’t exist in nature. It annihilates an equal amount of matter on contact and releases incredible amounts of energy.

Antimatter held for questioning

For physicists, a bit of antimatter is a precious gift indeed. By comparing matter to its counterpart, they can test fundamental symmetries that lie at the heart of the standard model of particle physics, and look for hints of new physics beyond. Yet few gifts are as tricky to wrap. Bring a particle of antimatter into contact with its matter counterpart and the two annihilate in a flash of energy.

Now a research collaboration at CERN, Europe’s particle-physics lab near Geneva, Switzerland, has managed, 38 times, to confine single antihydrogen atoms in a magnetic trap for more than 170 milliseconds. The group reported the result in Nature online on 17 November1. “We’re ecstatic. This is five years of hard work,” says Jeffrey Hangst, spokesman for the ALPHA collaboration at CERN.

An antihydrogen atom is made from a negatively charged antiproton and a positively charged positron, the antimatter counterpart of the electron. The objective — both for ALPHA and for a competing CERN experiment called ATRAP — is to compare the energy levels in antihydrogen with those of hydrogen, to confirm that antimatter particles experience the same electromagnetic forces as matter particles, a key premise of the standard model. “The goal is to study antihydrogen and you can’t do it without trapping it,” says Cliff Surko, an antimatter researcher at the University of California, San Diego. “This is really a big deal.”

See also:
Scientists briefly trap a form of antimatter
Upping the Anti: CERN Physicists Trap Antimatter Atoms for the First Time
Antihydrogen trapped at CERN
Snagging Antimatter Atoms
Antimatter created, captured for the first time
Gotcha!
Breakthrough! Scientists Create and Capture Antimatter
‘Antimatter’ captured by CERN scientists in dramatic physics breakthrough
Anti-matter is finally trapped for an instant
Antimatter Trapped For the First Time
Antimatter atom trapped for first time, say scientists
Antimatter atoms caught at last
Scientists Hold Antimatter Captive — For Milliseconds
ALPHA – Antihydrogen Laser PHysics Apparatus
ATRAP – Antihydrogen TRAP
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC)
CERN

So far, they’re only dealing with 38 atoms and let’s hope the scale of the research stays small. However, if they can trap and hold a tiny amount of antimatter, eventually the technology could be developed to trap and hold larger quantities and then we could be in trouble if the technology ever fell into the hands of bad actors.

The reaction of 1 kg of antimatter with 1 kg of matter would produce 1.8×1017 J (180 petajoules) of energy (by the mass-energy equivalence formula E = mc²), or the rough equivalent of 43 megatons of TNT. For comparison, Tsar Bomba, the largest nuclear weapon ever detonated, reacted an estimated yield of 50 megatons, which required the use of hundreds of kilograms of fissile material (Uranium/Plutonium).

/of course, there’s probably nothing to worry about, but still, they’re not playing with Tinkertoys here

Most Powerful Particle Collisions Yet

Large Hadron Collider smashes protons, record

The Large Hadron Collider in Geneva succeeded early Tuesday in colliding subatomic particles at three times the highest energy levels previously recorded.

Scientists gathered in a room at Caltech and in similar groups around the globe witnessed the achievement at 3:58 PDT.

“There were cheers in all the control rooms,” said Caltech physicist Harvey Newman. “As soon as we get the data, we’re analyzing it. … It’s been a long time coming.”

Researchers were waiting for the promised flood of data that would come as protons from two particle beams from the 17-mile-circumference collider smashed into each other.

Several experiments using the particle accelerator could help test for smaller particles, dark matter, other dimensions, supersymmetry and other theories in particle physics, researchers said.

“We’re pretty happy because we’ve been waiting all night,” said Andy Yen, 21, a senior who had worked on experiments related to the collider for most of his undergraduate career. “Some people have been waiting 15, 20 years. it’s late, but it’s worth it.”

Earlier that night, two previous attempts to ramp up the accelerator had been cut short, and the researchers, who at peak attendance numbered two-dozen-plus, were running low on pizza and energy. The buzz of conversation between professors and doctoral candidates died down each time the two beams were spun in preparation for the planned collision.

See also:
Cern LHC sees high-energy success
LHC experiments run at highest energy level yet
LHC Turns on, Powers up to Record-Shattering 7 TeV Collision
LHC achieves record collisions, starts gathering data
Large Hadron Collider Finally Smashing Properly
Large Hadron Collider a smashing success: Don’t panic!
Large Hadron Collider – Live!
Watch the Large Hadron Collider Experiments Live

/well, we’re all still here, no earth-engulfing black holes were created, and that’s a good thing

Get Your Physics Fun While It Lasts

They just restarted the LHC about a week ago and now they’re already announcing it needs to be shut down again. I bet that right about now they wish the could return it and get their $5 billion back. What a gigantic boondoggle. As I’ve said before, they should have had the Germans build it in the first place.

LHC to shut down for a year to address design faults

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) must close at the end of 2011 for up to a year to address design issues, according to an LHC director.

Dr Steve Myers told BBC News the faults will delay the machine reaching its full potential for two years.

The atom smasher will reach world record collision energies later this month at 7 trillion electron volts.

But joints between the machine’s magnets must be strengthened before higher-energy collisions can commence.

The Geneva-based machine only recently restarted after being out of action for 14 months following an accident in September 2008.

Dr Myers said: “It’s something that, with a lot more resources and with a lot more manpower and quality control, possibly could have been avoided but I have difficulty in thinking that this is something that was a design error.”

He said: “The standard phrase is that the LHC is its own prototype. We are pushing technologies towards their limits.”

“You don’t hear about the thousands or hundreds of thousands of other areas that have gone incredibly well.

“With a machine like the LHC, you only build one and you only build it once.”

He said the second problem is not with the most complex technology but involves the copper sheaths around the superconducting joints in the tunnel.

The copper sheaths are a failsafe mechanism designed to take up the current if one of the magnets in the Large Hadron Collider warms up – an incident known as a “quench”.

The 2008 accident caused one tonne of helium to leak into the tunnel and resulted in a series of “quenches” and a 40m Swiss franc (£24m) repair bill.

Engineers believe the machine is now safe to run at 7 trillion electron volts (TeV) but are anxious to avoid another breakdown.

So they have taken the decision to run the machine for 18 to 24 months at half-maximum power before switching it off for a year to carry out improvements to the 27km tunnel.

Dr Myers said the decision was taken jointly with the physicists working on the four giant particle detectors on the LHC.

He said they appreciate the chance to test their own equipment while the machine is running at half its maximum power.

See also:
Large Hadron Collider to close for a year for refit and repairs
Large Hadron Collider ‘to shut down for a year’
Hadron Collider to be closed amid fears of a very big bang
CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, world’s largest atom-smasher, needs to be shut down for repairs
Large Hadron Collider will finally reach full power in 2013… eight years behind schedule
Collider to shut down at end of 2011
Large Hadron Collider shutdown planned
Large Hadron Collider to shut down, not baguette this time
Scientists rubbish stories about LHC shutdown over safety concerns
Woman, fearing apocalypse, tries to halt collider
Woman fails to shut down Large Hadron Collider
Here We Go Again

As they say, measure twice, cut once.

/on the bright side, at least while it’s shut down again, they won’t have to pay the ridiculously high electric bill for all the vast amounts of power that the LHC sucks down while in operation

Watch Out For Black Holes!

Large Hadron Collider in process of restarting

Scientists are in the process of restarting a giant particle collider built to reproduce the conditions of the big bang, Europe’s CERN physics research center said Friday.

After a year’s delay, the scientists hope to have beams of protons circulating all the way through the Large Hadron Collider’s 17-mile-wide (27-kilometer-wide) underground ring in both directions by early Saturday, and then accelerate them this weekend, CERN spokesman James Gillies said.

“At the moment they’re putting beams down in the Large Hadron Collider, and as the night goes on they’ll take the beams through and start circulating them,” he told Reuters. CERN reported that beams were fully circulating in the clockwise direction, and that preparations were being made to send beams counterclockwise as well.

The experiment will not be properly under way until January when the LHC is operating at a higher level, Gillies said.

Technical problems forced CERN to shut down the $10 billion collider just nine days after it was started for the first time in September 2008.

The problem was a faulty splice in the super-conducting cable connecting two cooling magnets in the underground ring, which smashes particles at a temperature of just above absolute zero to re-create conditions believed to exist at the start of the universe 13.7 billion years ago.

As the particles smash into each other at nearly the speed of light — once the collider is operating at full throttle, which will take several weeks — they will explode in a burst of energy which scientists will monitor for new or previously unseen particles which they predict could help explain the nature of mass and the origins of the universe.

CERN said last year’s accident never posed any danger. The Geneva-based institution has had to rebuff suggestions that the experiment would create millions of black holes that would suck in the Earth.

See also:
Large Hadron Collider fully armed and operational
Large Hadron Collider fires up after $40M repairs
Proton Beams Are on Track at Collider
Large Hadron Collider restarts after 14 months of repairs
Beam sent around Large Hadron Collider
In pictures: Cern Large Hadron Collider restarts
Large Hadron Collider ready to restart
Science: Large Hadron Collider ready to restart
The Large Hadron Collider
Large Hadron Collider
Higgs boson
Saw This In a Movie Once, Pretty Sure It’ll Work

Okay, so the object of this exercise is to produce a particle collision with enough energy to produce previously theoretical sub-particles, most notably the infamous Higgs boson. Now, my question is, if these sub-particles are, by definition, smaller than anything currently known to man, capable of moving through mass unimpeded, what’s going to contain them as they fly off at the speed of light?

/pardon me if I don’t volunteer to stand next to this thing while it’s operating

Comrade Clinton’s Comedy Club Cackle Caper

U.S. seeks to ‘reset’ relations with Russia

The Obama administration has been talking about “pressing the reset button” with Russia after relations “crashed” when Russia invaded Georgia last August.

When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greeted Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva on Friday before sitting down to their working dinner, she presented him a small green box with a ribbon. Insclide was a red button with the Russian word “peregruzka” printed on it.

“I would like to present you with a little gift that represents what President Obama and Vice President Biden and I have been saying and that is: ‘We want to reset our relationship and so we will do it together.'”

Clinton, laughing, added, “We worked hard to get the right Russian word. Do you think we got it?” she asked Lavrov.

“You got it wrong,” Lavrov said.” Both diplomats laughed. “It should be “perezagruzka” (the Russian word for reset,) Lavrov said. “This says ‘peregruzka,’ which means ‘overcharged.'”

Are you telling me there’s not one person in the whole State Department who knows how to read and write Russian? And Hillary wasn’t done for the day yet.

Hillary Clinton Rewrites History in Front of Puzzled Europeans

Members of the European Parliament in Brussels were shaking their heads today after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton incorrectly said U.S. democracy is older than Europe’s. Clinton compared Europe’s multi-party political system to our two-party version: “It is hard enough with two parties to come to any resolution, and I say this very respectfully, because I feel the same way about our own democracy, which has been around a lot longer than European democracy.”

Europeans trace their Democratic tradition back thousands of years to the days of classical Greece. Later Secretary Clinton raised eyebrows again when she mispronounced the names of two of her EU counterparts.

Clinton’s gaffe: You say Solana, I say Solano

Hillary Clinton came to Brussels on a mission: to show Europe that the days of America thinking it is bigger, better, brighter than everywhere else were over. But her strenuous efforts were undermined by a series of minor gaffes that left the officials scratching their heads.

At a lunch, Mrs Clinton bungled the name of the EU external relations commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, calling her Benito, of all things. Javier Solana, the EU foreign policy chief, became Solano from her lips.

Are you telling me there’s not one person in the whole State Department who vets her remarks or prepares her for these appearances on the international stage?

See also:
Button gaffe embarrasses Clinton
Language Expert Comments on Hillary Clinton’s Russian Language Gaffe: What a Difference a Couple of Letters Make!
Clinton: First Slip of the Tongue then Major Gaffe
Clinton gaffe: US has an older democracy that Europe
Gaffe Watch: Hillary Tells Europeans U.S. Democracy Much Older Than Europe’s
And We Thought Biden Was the Gaffe Machine
Tongue-tied Clinton gets warm welcome
Biography of Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov
Sergey Lavrov
European Commission – Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner
Benita Ferrero-Waldner
Welcome to the Homepage of Javier Solana
Javier Solana
U.S. Department of State

Wow, three major gaffes in front of an international audience, all in one day, she must be taking lessons from Joe Biden. Hard work in the service of your country Hillary, take a break!

/and then she climbed back into her clown car for the clown caravan back to the clown cottage